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Overcome the Need to Numb

by Amber Tolbert

What do you do when you’re faced with stressful life circumstances? How do you combat overwhelm when the demands of your job are too much, every decision you make appears to be the wrong one, and your personal relationships seem beyond repair?

We all face life challenges of some sort. How we handle those challenges can make the difference between moving forward and being stuck. Is it common for you to feel the need to numb difficult or overwhelming emotions? Do you feel as though nothing you achieve brings you any relief, a feeling of success, or a sense of intimacy? Do you think that you’re the problem? (Hint: You’re not.)

Sometimes life’s challenges are just downright hard. When feelings of overwhelm become too much, the tendency to numb those feelings can be an easy fix. The problem, though, is that when we depend on substances—alcohol, drugs, gambling, exercise, pornography, and even work—to numb the pain of past experiences, we are not addressing the real issue. We are only concealing the underlying problem.

Trauma usually lies at the core of addictive behaviors. If we suffered from neglect, abuse, emotional unavailability, or perfectionism from an early age, then we likely have held onto lifelong wounds. Moreover, if addictive or numbing behaviors were modeled to us as children, it’s very likely we will develop similar means of coping.

It’s no wonder that an estimated 21 million Americans struggle with at least one form of addiction or substance abuse. Sadly, only 10 percent receive treatment. Today’s society perpetuates America’s numbing crisis. While social media promotes perfection, our culture does not encourage sharing struggles, nor the healthy processing or expression of emotions. The result is a culture that believes emotional vulnerability is taboo.

Yet there is a way to face life’s challenges without numbing past trauma. You don’t have to appear to have it all together at work, only to unravel in your “behind-the-scenes” life. You don’t have to do it alone. Here at The Healing Collective, we offer counseling that allows you to understand the source of your need to numb so you can heal.

If you’re seeking treatment, consider setting up a time to meet with our newest licensed therapist, Annie Morse! Annie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate. She specializes in numbing and medicating, specifically substance use disorders, and supports people along their journey to overcome the obstacles that get in the way of authentic living. And she’s accepting appointments now!

We are so excited for Annie to join our team! Please join us in welcoming her and follow the link below to connect.

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